HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Whoopee Boys, The
Set, The
Cyrano de Bergerac
Death Walks in Laredo
Gemini Man
End of the Century
If Beale Street Could Talk
Raining in the Mountain
Day Shall Come, The
Scandal
Buzzard
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Joker
Relaxer
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Bliss
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Wilt
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Curvature
Puzzle
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
Ad Astra
Winslow Boy, The
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
   
 
Newest Articles
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
   
 
  Yellow Sea, The Knives OutBuy this film here.
Year: 2010
Director: Na Hong-jin
Stars: Ha Jung-woo, Kim Yun-seok, Cho Seong-ha, Lee Chul-Min, Kim Jae-hwa
Genre: Drama, Action, Thriller
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Gu-nam (Ha Jung-woo) is a taxi driver in China, near the east coast in the Yellow Sea region. He's of Korean ancestry, and many of his fellow Chinese-Koreans are forced to rely on illegal methods to survive, but he thinks he can pay off his mounting debts to local gangster Myun (Kim Yun-seok) by combining his taxi wages with whatever he manages to win at the Mahjong tables, though it is not working out that way. He has enough to worry about what with his wife having returned to South Korea six months ago and lost contact with him and his young daughter, so when Myun has a proposition for him he has little choice but to take it...

What starts out looking like a deprived underclass drama of the sort we had seen so many times before turned in the hands of Na Hong-jin into a high octane thriller, but that opening half hour or so provided grounds for the action later on when we are so aware of how much is at stake. Basically, if Gu-nam doesn't carry out a murder for Myun then he will see his family killed, and if he does, his debts are paid, but if you think it's going to be as simple as that (as if murder is simple) then you had another thing coming, as The Yellow Sea was the second movie from the director who had made his name internationally with offbeat thriller The Chaser.

Some of the same cast returned for this, including most memorably Kim Yun-seok, who had played the anti-hero in that previous movie and was just as memorable as the apparently superhuman Myun here. He didn't really prove his mettle till halfway through the story, as up to that point we had to follow some social conscience-raising business as the destitute Gu-nam travels across the sea of the title - which really only figures for a small fraction of the running time - along with a bunch of illegal immigrants hoping for a better life in South Korea than the one they had in China. Once in Seoul, he has to identify his target and check out the location, all to work out how he will actually go about the deed.

Yet his wife is preying on his mind, and he wants to find out what happened to her though the ten day timeslot he has to manoeuvre in doesn't give him much opportunity. That said, he'll be having far more opportunity than he reckoned on after he finally goes to the Professor's home where he is meant to execute him and bring back his thumb as proof, only to discover someone else has the same idea. Ha Jung-woo played his character as the loneliest man in the world, but only needy when it came to seeing his wife again, as at all other times he is stuck in the loner role through necessity as nobody else is prepared to assist him, not good news when his target is murdered by hitmen but he gets the blame.

It's at that stage The Yellow Sea turns from moody drama to a mounting series of increasingly tense chase scenes, so if you were enjoying the social comment you might well feel shortchanged by developments. If, on the other hand, you were having that seen it all before sense of jadedness with Gu-nam's exploits, you would doubtless be woken up the action which ensues, taking in pursuits on foot and in vehicles, but all with the taxi driver as the quarry from a variety of bad guys who want to see him dead, and the cops who want to capture him alive. In truth the police don't seem anything but incompetent here as it's the gangsters who have everything sorted out, something of a cliché in crime thrilers but better to concentrate on those who mean Gu-nam real harm to up the tension. With a notable lack of guns, it appears carving knives and hatchets are the weapon of choice, leading to what can best be termed an utter bloodbath, mainly thanks to Myun's refusal to give up. It's not subtle by those latter scenes, but memorable it is. Music by Jang Young-kyu and Lee Byung-hoon.

Aka: Hwanghae
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1347 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: